Former Baltimore homicide prosecutor gets 2 years in prison for using grand jury for stalking

Published 4/18/2023 4:58 p.m. EDT, Updated 4/19/2023 8:26 a.m. EDT

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 08:  A sign stands outside the Edward A. Garmatz U.S. Courthouse, where a man accused of plotting to bomb an armed forces recruiting station will appear on December 8, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. A 21-year-old man was arrested and will appear in court in Baltimore this afternoon.

They first met while she was serving on a grand jury and he was a city homicide prosecutor. Later that year, they started dating.

As the on-and-off relationship ran its course over a span of three years, she noticed strange things happening, like her social media accounts and bank accounts being hacked. He knew things about her family that she hadn’t told him. At one point, a former boyfriend living in another state had received a rose catalog addressed to her first name but with the former partner’s last name.

She recalled the broad power to obtain information that she had observed prosecutors wield in the grand jury room.

“I started piecing together how this would have come up, and it dawned on me that it had to have been him,” the woman told The Baltimore Banner.

An investigation would reveal that Adam Chaudry was indeed using the cloak of secrecy related to grand jury matters to obtain records on the woman as well as four others, who were “never the target of, nor involved in, an investigation or prosecution conducted by the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office.”

For the yearslong abuse of power, federal prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett to go above the sentencing guidelines and hand Chaudry two years in a federal prison.

Bennett agreed. He told Chaudry that if not for the arguments of his defense attorneys, he was inclined to have gone even higher. He cited the swirl of corruption in the city’s criminal justice system as a compounding factor.

“I consider it so shocking,” Bennett said. “You cannot undo the harm that’s been done to the metropolitan area and this system.”

Chaudry pleaded guilty to two felony counts of fraud in December. The case was investigated by the Office of the State Prosecutor and initially charged in state court in December 2021; federal prosecutors adopted the case 10 months later.

Chaudry had subpoenaed one former girlfriend’s phone records 33 times. He contacted employees at a hotel where she was staying, wanting to know how many beds her room had. He made spreadsheets of 67 of her phone contacts. State’s Attorney staff unwittingly participated when he asked them to pull driving records. He falsely issued letters to another person, an unidentified athlete, claiming that he was under criminal investigation for failing to pay back a loan from one of his acquaintances.

Subpoenas issued by Chaudry said, “The information sought in this subpoena is relevant and material to a legitimate law enforcement inquiry.”

Chaudry’s supporters — and there were many, with Bennett citing a “stack of letters” he had received — and defense attorneys appeared to blame the stress of being a homicide prosecutor for his behavior. Chaudry said he made himself available at all hours to the families of victims in his cases and was always on call to go to murder scenes, and they said he had abused alcohol to cope. They lashed out at media coverage of his indictment.

“He’s a wonderful, wonderful person who was in a terrible, terrible spot,” defense attorney Andrew C. White told Bennett.

One of the victims was Chaudry’s former longtime girlfriend of more than a decade. She read a letter to the court in which she detailed how his stalking had terrorized her, including trying to take advantage of her mother’s death to rekindle their relationship.

She said she still can’t understand what he was trying to find out about her, and what he intended to do with the information.

“I did not ask for this, and I definitely did not deserve it,” she said.

Chaudry’s current girlfriend also addressed the court, calling herself “the love of his life” and said she had seen him change in recent years. She noted his good deeds, such as picking up trash in the park and baking cookies for their maintenance man.

Bennett said he believed Chaudry had undiagnosed issues with obsession and compulsion, comparing the park trash pickup to the relentless harassment and ordering him to receive mental health counseling while incarcerated.

The packed hearing was attended by U.S. Attorney Erek Barron, State Prosecutor Charlton Howard and State’s Attorney Ivan Bates. Howard’s office conducted the investigation.

“Adam Chaudry egregiously abused his power,” Barron said in a statement. “We wield prosecutorial power for the public interest, not for personal interest. This office will tolerate nothing less.”

Asked if Chaudry’s willingness to break rules in the grand jury process raised questions about his cases, Bates, who took over in January, said he was told that the prior administration had already conducted a review.

Michael Schatzow, who served as chief deputy of the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office from 2015 through 2021, addressed Bennett, saying much of the dysfunction in the city criminal justice system stems from a “monumental” lack of trust.

“If he, an experienced prosecutor trusted to be assigned to the Homicide Division was capable of this shocking degree of repeated misconduct, why wouldn’t the public consider each of them to also be so engaged?” Schatzow wrote in a letter to Bennett.

The investigation found Chaudry started seeking the records of one victim, who he had dated for about 13 years until 2018, in early 2019. In March of that year, he sent her an email saying he believed she was in a relationship with someone else.

“It has been over a year now and I need you to move on. I was hoping by ignoring the texts, calls, and flowers, you would understand how I feel but now I will make it very clear,” she wrote back. “Please do not send me any more flowers or anything else, and please do not send anything to my job. ... Please do not stop by my house or try to ‘run’ into me anywhere else.”

That same month, he sought information from a hotel that showed up in her phone records. Investigators found handwritten notes that tracked her credit card, vehicle and number of beds in the room.

When Chaudry issued grand jury subpoenas, he listed the case number and defendant as “IN RE SPECIAL INVESTIGATION.”

For a second former romantic partner, whom he first met while she was serving on the grand jury, he issued subpoenas for jail calls between her and a close relative who was incarcerated, and obtained the relative’s visitors log. Notes he took after listening to the calls included the former partner’s family and banking information, prosecutors said.

When a personal acquaintance told Chaudry about money she had loaned to one of her ex-boyfriends, he said he’d have state’s attorney investigators look into it and issued a letter saying the office had “opened a criminal investigation into the failure of remittance of payment.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Delaney said such behavior was not a bad choice, and could not be explained away by the stress of prosecuting homicides and keeping in touch with victims’ families.

“That’s lie, after lie, after lie, after lie,” Delaney said.

White, Chaudry’s defense attorney, told Bennett that in scores of cases around the country involving corruption by prosecutors, most received probation.

Bennett interrupted, asking White whether those cases had taken place in cities drowning in corruption and mistrust. He cited the death of Freddie Gray and the Gun Trace Task Force cases.

“Please don’t blame him issuing some subpoenas for Freddie Gray,” White shot back.

It was a tense exchange, and immediately afterward Chaudry himself was asked to address the court. He noted it was “the last closing argument I’ll make in court.”

He apologized, and said he was in a much better place. “I understand the trust I betrayed,” he said.

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